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If you want the TL;DR, see end of review
A year or two ago, the western budget electric skateboarding market was a burgeoning place with Chinese brands like Meepo and Ownboard dominating. These boards usually featured lackluster performance, mediocre to bad hardware, and virtually no customer support. There was really not too much other choice unfortunately. Over the past years, we’ve seen the industry grow and transform. Budget boards are no longer something you have to put up with. Instead, they’re now a really valid option, and sometimes maybe even a preferred option. As a result of the budget board boom, there are now many manufacturers trying to stake out their claim to the space. And so, here we have Ride1UP, an e-bike company just starting their own electric skateboard line. So how good is their first effort? Let’s find out!
The first thing you see when you get the board in the mail is the box. It’s your typical solid electric skateboard box. However, it’s the inscription on it that caught my eye.
“We sacrifice nothing.” “Bring on the competition!” Man those are some strong words. Fightin’ words. But you know what? I agree with that message. I would love to see more high performance, low price boards. After all, Exway can’t remain the king forever right? Well let’s bang on and see what this board is made of.
The Slopestyle comes with a bevy of accessories: a hex tool, a skate tool, a hub motor sleeve removable tool, cables, a charger… I think that’s it right? Of course, there’s the remote and board itself.
So let’s talk about the board.
In terms of skate hardware setup, it’s actually pretty good.
- 38″ Canadian maple rocker dropthru deck with a slight concave
- Clone Paris v2 trucks
- Pretty good 90mm wheels (time will tell if they hold up on rough streets)
- Double barrel bushings setup, not something you see very often on these kinds of boards but ok
Pretty good for a budget eskate to be honest. You can tell they put thought into it and didn’t just find whatever from the grab bin.
So the hardware is good. But what about electronics?
And here’s where it sort of falls apart…
While hardware makes or breaks a traditional longboard, the electronics make or break the electronic skateboard. Quite unfortunately, the electronics break the Slopestyle. Let me explain.
There are two main ESCs (electronic speed controller) that are typically used in budget boards: The Hobbywing ESC and the LiYing ESC. Fellow ESHQ writer Paxson did a comparison in this article a while back. While they’re both budget ESCs, the performance of the two are extremely different. the Hobbywing ESC features FOC (field oriented control) of the motors for extremely smooth takeoff, acceleration, and braking performance, while the LiYing ESC uses square wave control algorithms to control the motors. At first blush, simply by reading specs, you’d assume the LiYing ESC was superior because it can apply more torque immediately and control switching is also immediate. However, in eskate, what you really want is a ramp up in torque and switching, otherwise you’re likely to have the board jerked out from under you. In this, the Hobbywing ESC excels.
I should also mention that while the ESC has torque, it’s not so good at braking. I live on a mild incline, around 5%. I had to fully footbrake down this incline to the bottom and all the subsequent hills I went down in San Francisco as full brakes did almost nothing to slow me down. Granted, this maybe good knowing the behavior of this ESC and it may be good for riding on flat ground, but it’s definitely not good for a hilly place like San Francisco.
I’ve recorded a video of braking behavior. You can see at full brake on HI+ speed mode I can still move the board quite easily. The brakes can also lock in place, but only if you hit slow enough erpm on the board, which requires footbraking. They also sort of “vibrate” when locked…
As far as the remote goes, the LiYing ESC has seen many remote shells that house more or less the same internals. Recently, the LiYing remotes have been upgraded with telemetry. I first experienced a LiYing remote with telemetry on the Teamgee H6 which I wrote a review of here. I didn’t like it then, and don’t like it now. While it’s been made better with a casing almost identical to the Hobbywing remotes, the ride mode differentiation is still “let’s add more deadzone and simply slow down the ramp-up time for the slow modes and keep everything else the same”, which is not really how these modes should be programmed. All this really does is make the board unpredictable for fine grain control.
You can see a video I recorded of this behavior below as well. The inconsistent throttle and bad ramp-up is very apparent.
Well, I’ve said all I really want to say about that. For the sake of the review, let’s move onto the rest of the board’s electronics.
Honestly, the rest is pretty good
Look, it’s not all bad for the electronics. The rest of the electronics hardware is very good. Samsung 25R cells in a 10s3p configuration housed by an unassuming front enclosure. A similarly unassuming enclosure in the back houses the ESC. While the 25R has higher discharge (20A cont.) compared to the 30Q, it has lower capacity by 500mAh. This may make the 25R seem like a worse choice, but it’s a pretty significant price difference of a dollar so I can understand it. However, this means the range takes a bit of a hit vs a comparable 30Q pack. In San Francisco, I got around 11 miles on average.
The hub motors used here are also not too shabby. They feature replaceable sleeves, and Ride1UP includes all the tools you need to change them out, a really nice touch. The urethane used on the hubs are also not half bad. They feel good, but the durability is yet to be seen.
In terms of power cycle, I had no issues cycling through hard acceleration and braking tests (besides control as mentioned above), and the hub motors didn’t heat up too much after periods of riding.
However, what it really boils down to is this:
The impact of the ESC, its configuration, and its remote is fundamental to how an eskate feels and behaves. If an eskate has jerky torque application and mode switching with large deadzones and unpredictable control in the remote, it should not be recommended. I’m happy to revisit my assessment if Ride1UP changes the ESC they use. It should be more or less plug and play to be honest. But until they change it, I can’t really recommend the board. “We sacrifice nothing?” Unfortunately Ride1UP has sacrificed the most important thing of all.